Steal His Look: Richard Gere in American Gigolo

By Style Girlfriend | Last Updated: Oct 18 2016

American prep meets Italian class in the film that launched a designer’s career.

There’s a rumor that, to this day, Richard Gere can walk into any Armani store and take anything he wants for free. That’s how much his role as American Gigolo’s Julian, a high-class escort for lonely LA women, impacted Italian designer Giorgio Armani’s success.

In the early 1980s, in response to the padded power suits taking over Wall Street, Italian designers set about reinventing menswear (yes, again). The Italians decided to go in a different direction – removing the shoulder pads and using softer materials, creating a cooler, more relaxed silhouette (think long, zoot-suit-like jackets). This move had a huge impact on men’s fashion as we know it today, and Giorgio Armani stood at the forefront of the movement.

How Armani got involved in the film at all, however, turned out to be a happy accident. Director Paul Schrader had originally pegged John Travolta to play the starring role, and his manager told Schrader that Armani was about to make a name for himself in the fashion world. Travolta ended up dropping out of the film, but Armani stayed. The clothes were re-tailored for new star Richard Gere, and Gere unintentionally became the face of both Armani and a new world order for men’s fashion.

Nearly the entire wardrobe for American Gigolo is Armani, and nearly every woman who has seen this film will confirm that Gere looks got-me-all-weak-in-the-knees handsome in every scene.

The Italian influence on American Gigolo also foreshadowed an Italian influence on 1980s yuppie culture. The laid-back Italian clothes Richard Gere’s character dons are expensive and, at times, impractical (linen and silk crease constantly), making the clothes symbolic of status. You can afford to be impractical and you can afford to look like you’re not even trying.

What We Like
  • A neutral color palette looks good on everyone, and the combination of linens, silks, and Italian cotton creates visual interest. Experimenting with texture is a perfect way to try something new while remaining subtle in your overall look. It’s all in the details!
  • One of Gere’s biggest assets in nailing his wardrobe and character in the film? Confidence. Wear all your clothes like you got them on Rodeo Drive, and you’re bound to look good.
Want to pull it off? Try these pieces:

Jacket: eBay / Shirt: Brooks Brothers / Belt: Massimo Dutti

Pants: J. Crew / Watch: eBay /Sunglasses: ASOS (similar pair: eBay)

Boxers: Lord & Taylor / Socks: Gap / Shoes: DSW


Want more Gere-tastic goodies? Check out the latest Style Girlfriend eBay collection, The (Un)Official Preppy Handbook.


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How do you dress when you’re trying to impress?

The Style Girlfriend eBay Collections were curated as part of a collaboration with eBay. #FOLLOWITFINDIT